Date of Submission

Spring 2011

Academic Program

Studio Arts


Joseph Santore

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Rosemary Lopeman

Senior Project Artist’s Statement

Reflection is a response to experience that asks us to step outside of the whirlwind of daily life. It is a moment to feel our humanity and liveliness. What I’ve practiced in this project is reflection by means of communicating what sits before me. By painting, I have tried to reflect the visual world in order to communicate it to others, and also to understand it better myself. I am teaching and learning at the same time.

Most of my time and focus has been directed towards understanding how I paint, rather than what I paint. Since my goal is to get better at showing what I see, my primary concerns are formal ones: color, composition, application, and texture. Though the subjects of the paintings are people, the way they are represented has changed over the course of the year. The earlier paintings are thinner and more direct. I tried to achieve the light in just one sitting, with usually just one layer of paint. As I continued, I discovered different applications of the paint, more accurate colors, and I learned how to layer paint. I learned how to return to a painting many times and incorporate the earlier marks with my newer ones. With the layering of paint from multiple sessions, I reached a more developed quality of space and light in the paintings, which contributes to my goal of a meaningful reflection. Because I believe that light, and where and how it is cast, is inherently expressive.

These are figurative paintings because I also think our bodies are inherently expressive. Positions and facial expressions are meaningful. Where the model’s gaze is, or how their hands overlap changes the impression they make. Every aspect of the model’s pose can be very suggestive. This is where I’ve found meaning in the visual world. However, the poses are not illustrative or symbolic. I have not tried to communicate specific messages or meanings with the placement of figures in my compositions. I did not want to decide everything about their pose because I want to keep their meaning open. Rather than objects or marionettes, I treated them like subjects that are as three dimensional and as deep as myself. When I painted somebody, I slowed down the quicker glances that I see with every day. Though their meaning is not fixed, I was able to reveal more of what their bodies say, and communicate it to other people.

Of course, what their bodies say is not a phrase or mantra, nor just one thing at all, which is why, in the framing and defining of my paintings, I have tried to be very inclusive. I did not want to exclude any part of what I was seeing. I believe that the moments when I think I’m being most truthful, and showing just what I see, are the purest moments of subjectivity. When I feel that I’ve reached universality, I’ve arrived at individuality.

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